NHL Rumor Mill – December 16, 2020
Check out the latest on Max Pacioretty, Zdeno Chara, and Travis Hamonic in today’s NHL rumor mill.
FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy cites three NHL management sources and two scouts claiming that if Vegas Golden Knights general manager Kelly McCrimmon isn’t shopping Max Pacioretty, he’s at least listening. Recent rumors claim the Golden Knights were looking into moving the 32-year-old winger’s $7 million annual average value, but team owner Bill Foley denied the reports.
One source told Murphy the Los Angeles Kings and Pittsburgh Penguins have circled back to Pacioretty. The New Jersey Devils, New York Rangers, and Buffalo Sabres are also said to be interested.
THE SCORE: cites Pacioretty telling the Las Vegas Review-Journal he’s unconcerned about those trade rumors. “I played in Montreal for 10 years, so this is lightweight stuff,” he said. “I’ve heard a lot worse…This is nothing.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Those clubs listed by Murphy could be doing due diligence by checking into Pacioretty’s availability. Nevertheless, I doubt he’ll land with any of them.
Given the Golden Knights’ desire to shed salary, they won’t want much in return and won’t want to absorb a significant chunk of Pacioretty’s cap hit. That rules out the Penguins, as Cap Friendly shows them with $1.3 million in cap space. They would get $1 million more by placing Zach Aston-Reese on long-term injury reserve but unless they’re getting creative by getting a third team involved I don’t see how they can pull it off.
The Devils have plenty of cap space but if they’re on Pacioretty’s 10-team no-trade list I don’t see him agreeing to leave a Stanley Cup contender to join a rebuilding team. The same goes for the Kings, who attempted to acquire Pacioretty two years ago but have since gone into rebuild mode.
Pacioretty isn’t a fit with the Rangers as they have Artemi Panarin, Chris Kreider and 2020 first-overall pick Alexis Lafreniere among their left wingers. The Sabres already made their big offseason move by signing Taylor Hall.
BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Joe Haggerty wonders if it’s time for the Boston Bruins to move on from former captain Zdeno Chara. There are teams like the New York Rangers reportedly interested in the 43-year-old free-agent defenseman.
Haggerty points out the Bruins signed Jakub Zboril to a one-year contract and re-signed Kevan Miller to a one-year deal. He also noted their attempt to acquire Oliver Ekman-Larsson from the Arizona Coyotes.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Chara’s agent said his client is waiting to see what the format for this season will look like before deciding where he’ll play. Some observers believe he’ll return with the Bruins for one more season but others aren’t so sure anymore. We won’t have to wait much longer to find out if the NHL and NHLPA reach an agreement on a Jan. 13 start to this season.
SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports the Vancouver Canucks were interested in Travis Hamonic before they acquired Nate Schmidt in October. He believes they’re still interested in the free-agent defenseman but probably don’t have the cap flexibility they had before the Schmidt acquisition. They’ve also signaled an intent to bring more youth into the lineup.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly shows the Canucks above the $81.5 million cap by $1.5 million. They could get cap relief if winger Micheal Ferland ends up on LTIR over his lingering head-trauma symptoms but perhaps not enough to sign Hamonic, who could be targeted by the Winnipeg Jets.